This is for Jocelyn.
Of all the stories I knew I’d never tell, this is the only one you’ll hear.
I came of age in the sixties, when, as Dylan mentioned, the times they were a changing. Actually, the pieces always were there. My dad said when he was young and free in the 1930’s, marijuana grew wild along the railroad tracks and the hobos didn't want for a smoke. It took a bunch of decent kids and a bad war to make a trend a movement.
I learned how to drink in college, then how to smoke, and quickly how to do both in moderation. Hash left my repertoire when a friend’s bathroom toilet was a mile or more down the little black and white tile path, and I had to stand on my tippy toes to reach the water closet chain up on the wall.
Pot was not the same after that, either, and I generally passed. I had my alcohol epiphany when I was married. We came back from a party, paid the babysitter, who lived across the street. As I held the railing to go upstairs I realized if one of my children needed me in the night, it would be a struggle to get up, and, of course, their father wouldn't even hear them. I turned into the current day equivalent of the designated driver.
Our house was a great party house. Family room in the basement, kids asleep on the second floor. For friends and relatives, perhaps a half hour trip. The gang was down there maybe once a month. And so it went on until 1973, and I divorced.
It was a different time back then. Divorce needed a cause. One party or the other must be aggrieved and blameless. I didn't know what would happen and I was terrified my husband would do something above and beyond putting me ass over teacup in debt. I stood in the family room and looked at the bong.
It was a work of art, actually. I cannot remember who of the group made it. It was clear plexiglass, and I recall a lot of colored bits. The medical student might have made it; he had access to that kind of plexiglass. My brother might have made it, but I don’t think he had the shop skills. I just don’t know.
How to get rid of it. What if Jim sent a social worker looking for it? I went outside to bury it. No, the neighbors will see me digging a hole. I put it in a trash bag. No, the trash pickup is still a week away, and he just left, knowing he would be divorced as soon as the proceedings went through the court.
Could I take it to work and put it in the dumpster? Too risky. Walking around the basement holding the evidence, I wound up in the laundry room. How about behind the water tank? Stupid. But look there; a panel, not a plasterboard wall where the steps go up. I wonder!
I pushed it in and found a lovely vacancy under the basement steps. The bong went in, I got the panel back in place and went on with my life. I wonder if the next owners of the house ever found it.